Nail Salons, Driving Schools Prepare to Reopen in Phase 2

Phase two of the state's reopening plan begins June 17 and including nail salons and driving schools.

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The State of Connecticut is just days away from entering phase two of the reopening plan. Phase two includes amusement parks, hotels, nail salons, driving schools, among others. A full list of businesses allowed to reopen in phase two can be viewed here.

Visiting a nail salon for a manicure or pedicure will look different than ever before. The state is requiring each salon to follow a specific set of rules before reopening which includes changes to workstation setup and strict cleaning plans.

At 3D Salon in Middlebury, plexiglass partitions are installed at every table. Nail technicians are required to wear face shields. Customers will have their temperature taken upon arrival and every other table will be in use to ensure social distancing.

“I want everyone to be safe and be aware to come get their nails done," said Jenny Lionello, owner of 3D Nail Salon.

Lionello expanded her business in February, opening a second location in Middlebury. Three weeks later she was forced to close her doors because of the pandemic. She said she is thrilled to reopen.

"Oh, it is exciting," said Lionello. "I love my job. To meet people."

Driving schools are also included in phase two of the reopening plan. According to the state, there can be two people in a car during driving lessons, both must wear masks, windows must be rolled down and thorough cleanings are required between customers.

"To keep our cars clean is nothing new," said Erik Parks, director of operations for The Next Street Driving School. "Now it is just exaggerated. If somebody tells us to do something once, we do it twice."

Driving schools, on hold since March, are getting ready to reopen to a backlog of thousands of students.

The Next Street will resume lessons on June 22, giving priority to students with permits that are about to expire and to students who they had to cancel appointments with from March to June. According to Parks, more than 150 drives are scheduled for their first day back.

Each car is equipped with cleaning supplies. Plastic covers are on each seat and steering wheel. Students and instructors will be required to wear a mask at all times. There will be a 15-minute gap between each student to ensure the car has been disinfected thoroughly between each use.

"A student will get in the car understanding that absolutely everything has been wiped down and we have created a safety barrier," said Parks.

Parks estimates that they have a backlog of thousands of students across the state. He said that their biggest challenge is staffing. They are bringing back all eligible instructors. They have also hired 15 new instructors and are able to hire even more.

The next challenge, according to Parks, will be tackling the backlog of testing in the state. He said that testing will also resume on June 22, estimating that 12,000 tests were canceled at the DMV in the last three months because of the pandemic. He said that his team is working with the DMV to make sure that, when the process gets started, it runs in a smooth and safe way.

"We are pretty busy in trying to work with the DMV to accomplish that massive backlog. That backlog has some issues to it," said Parks. "A lot of parents were counting on their kids to have their license at this point. We want to get them their license."

Parks said that they are eager and ready to reopen. He said that their phone lines have been busy, adding that people can request a call back from their team to schedule an appointment or ask questions via an online chat option.

He estimates that they will start seeing some relief in the backlog by September.

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